With the release of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight", the initial fervor to see the movie reminded me of a virtue that we have little of in our U.S. society. It’s patience. To watch "The Dark Knight," people paid big money for tickets, waited in line overnight, uncomfortably, wasting hours, endured crowds, and viewed the movie in what were most likely sub-optimal seats. If they had just waited, they could have comfortably bought tickets and seen the movie in a normal pleasant manner. But some people are so impatient, that they have to be amongst the first to see it. I can understand their motivation, but I don’t understand the extent to which they’ll voluntarily suffer for it. I could be the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world, (which I’m not), but that doesn’t mean that I have to see the movie the first night it comes out. There is pride that comes from being among the first, and there’s less risk of having somebody spoil it for you, but the glory is fleeting… until the next hot movie comes around. Then the cycle repeats. However, they can tell their friends that they already saw the movie… and I guess that’s worth all the trouble. I don’t think the marketers instilled this craze in us. I’m convinced that we have developed it in our culture. I'm not sure how. There is such a waste of time that happens, presumably by people who's time is not worth much to begin with.
The same type of “being first” craze rears its ugly head when a new cool gadget or toy comes out. Recent examples include the new iPhone, the Sony PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Wii. There were lines, there was pushing, and there were fights. Granted, some people are experiencing the agony on behalf of their children, but then, by going to this extent, they’re probably teaching their kids to be impatient too. Once the fresh hot product is purchased, and often at a price way above what it’s worth, it slowly becomes just like any other one purchased leisurely 6 months later. The kids did get 2 months of extra excitement, but they lost two months of anticipation… and part of their college fund. Also, what people tend to forget with new gadgets or vehicles is that they’re more likely to have product glitches which eventually get smoothed out. The most recent iPhone went through this in the U.S. This just adds frustration to the suffering that was already experienced.
I guess this phenomenon makes for great news clips, but I wonder what’s wrong with our society, and then I wonder if this happens as much in other cultures. I don’t know the answer, but I suppose it’s kind of funny to watch, and nobody minds being entertained, even if it is at the expense of others.